Oil on Paper Mounted on Panel / 6 x 6 Inches
At the Heard Museum in Arizona in the Barry Goldwater Collection, there is a small Kachina carving. It is the old kind, the traditional kind given to the children to educate them in the Hopi way. Its paint almost worn away, this flat, nearly featureless carving still retains its presence, its character.
In the 1970s, I made a series of small monoprints based, loosely, on the that little ogre. Contrary to tradition, I've always preferred to make monoprints with oils, rather than with printer's ink. Either way, one paints on a sheet of metal or glass, or, as I did, on plastic. Paper is lain on top of the image and run through a printer's press, or, as in the case of these small pieces, rubbed with the back of a spoon.
The image is transferred to the paper, and in the process takes on interesting characteristics not present in the original. Occasionally there is sufficient ink remaining on the plate to allow for a second impression. A third, ghost impression, too weak to stand on its own may be added using oils, watercolors, even pastels.
Adding fresh paint to the plate, with different colors and different strokes, will result in more images that are the same, yet different. One idea, many original, one of a kind prints.
That series of Ogre prints has long since all gone away into collections, but, fortunately I still have photographs of them for my records. Today, as I was working on organizing my records, I came across them and thought I should do a painting based on one of the prints. The image had already changed during the making of the series, becoming more colorful and more three dimensional. I decided to approach the subject as though it were a newer carving, more typical of those made in the 1930s and 1940s, and less old, less worn, but still showing considerable age.
Anxious to take what I've been learning from doing my abstract series and apply it to a Kachina, I jumped right in. I'm really happy with the result!
NOTE! I have a special new WORKSHOP coming up in July. Click HERE for details. I hope you can join us.